On Linkedin, Microsoft and their wokeness

As an Indian institution, Ola is for genuine actions on diversity. We run one of the largest WOMEN ONLY automotive plant. Not 1 out of 10 lines, or a small section, but the whole plant! Almost 5000 women now and will grow to tens of thousands in the coming years. And regarding gender inclusivity, we don’t need lectures from western companies on how to be inclusive. Our culture didn’t need pronouns to be inclusive for thousands of years. On a personal note, I had visited Ayodhya last year and learnt about how transgenders had been accorded special respect in our culture from ancient times! Here’s a short video from our national broadcaster DD on this –

On the other hand, the pronouns issue I wrote about is a woke political ideology of entitlement which doesn’t belong in India. I wouldn’t have waded into this debate but clearly Linkedin has presumed Indians need to have pronouns in our life, and that we can’t criticise it. They will bully us into agreeing with them or cancel us out. And if they can do this to me, I’m sure the average user stands no chance. As a founder and CEO, this western DEI system has a major impact on my business if it grows an entitlement mindset in our professional lives and I will fight it.

This situation brings me to the need for us to build our own Indian tech platforms. I’m not against global tech companies. But as an Indian citizen, I feel concerned that my life will be governed by western Big Tech monopolies and we will be culturally subsumed as the above experience shows. This is not about Ola or any of my companies. Ola is too small to make any impact against this. I want to confront this forced ideology as a free thinking Indian and do what I can in my capacity. So here are the actions I’m taking. Putting my money where my mouth is.

  • While we can’t do anything about LinkedIn’s monopoly overnight, I’m making a commitment to work with the Indian developer community to build a DPI social media framework. DPIs like UPI, ONDC, Aadhaar etc are a uniquely Indian idea and is even more needed in the world of social media. The only “community guidelines” should be the Indian law. No corporate person should be able to decide what will be banned. Data should be owned by the creators instead of being owned by the corporates who make money using our data and then lecture us on “community guidelines”!
  • Since LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft and Ola is a big customer of Azure, we’ve decided to move our entire workload out of Azure to our own कृत्रिम cloud within the next week. It is a challenge as all developers know, but my team is so charged up about doing this.
  • Any other developer who wants to move out of Azure, we will offer a full year worth of free cloud usage. As long as you don’t go back to Azure after that! Mail us on exitazure@olakrutrim.com. Offer is perpetually open!

      – Bhavish